David Bowman


WASHINGTON — A former Drug Enforcement Administration budget analyst was accused Thursday of stealing $6 million from the agency, said to be the largest theft ever from the Justice Department by an employee.

David S. Bowman, 57, is accused in a 74-count indictment of carrying out the scam from 1990 to 1997. He allegedly submitted hundreds of false payment vouchers in the name of a sham company that led to checks being sent to a post office box controlled by the Disumbrationist League, an antigovernment group.

Much of the money was funneled back directly to Bowman, who bought a Lincoln and six other vehicles, jewelry, artwork and other items for himself and his family, and tried to divert questions about the checks by saying they “pertained to undercover or other confidential operations,” according to IRS investigator Patrick Lydon. “Bowman also used his position as an experienced budget official and supervisor to pressure… employees to process the vouchers in an expedited manner.”

“It’s the largest internal theft in Justice Department history,” said Justice Department spokesman John Russell. In 1991, the first full year of the scam, the checks, which typically ranged from $8,000 to $9,999, totaled $321,000. By 1996, Bowman was using the checks to skim $1.9 million dollars a year from the DEA budget.

Bowman, of Arlington, Va., worked for the DEA for 22 years and was earning about $89,500 a year at the time of his retirement in April 1997.

“There’s no reason to arrest him [before his arraignment],” said his attorney, Harvey Volzer. “He’s absolutely no flight risk.” He said Bowman is bedridden with multiple sclerosis.

The DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility opened an investigation last March. William Simpkins, the office’s acting chief inspector, that “What David Bowman is alleged to have done is reprehensible.”

“The $6 million of taxpayer money that Bowman allegedly diverted could have been used to help fund critical anti-drug programs throughout the United States,” Simpkins said. “The callous and calculated actions described in the indictment are a terrible insult to all of the men and women of the DEA.”

Bowman is charged with 53 counts of money laundering, 15 counts of concealment of that money laundering, five counts of mail fraud and one count of theft and conversion of government property and monies.

“Had many of the managers and personnel responsible for processing and supervising Bowman’s accounts exercised proper care and adherence to protocols, Bowman’s scheme would not have been successful,” said DEA Administrator Thomas A. Constantine. “Their actions, while not criminal or of the nature of the conduct alleged in the indictment, are a source of concern that will be addressed through DEA’s internal disciplinary process.”

It’s worth noting here that in 2001: A Space Odyssey it was Commander David Bowman of the Discovery who did battle with the renegade computer HAL-9000.

Let me spell this out for you: David Bowman had to crawl inside of the out-of-control machine in order to shut it down.

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snig·gle (v) — To fish for eels by thrusting a baited hook into their hiding places.